Venice, USA - October 14, 2015: THe Ocean Front Walk at Venice Beach is one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Southern California

The Venice neighborhood in Los Angeles is best known for its beach, but tech startups are now common throughout the area as well. (Getty Images)

When Amazon announced that Long Island City would be one of two new locations for its HQ2, the media were abuzz with the news that New York City could soon become the next technology hub, rivaling Silicon Valley. The entrance of the company was expected to be a major economic development initiative, creating as many as 107,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and building a campus of over 4 million square feet, according to a Nov. 16, 2018 Curbed article.

Long Island City was already the country’s fastest growing neighborhood prior to the announcement, with median home prices rising from $509,000 in 2012 to $769,000 in 2019. Real estate information company PropertyShark examined searches for homes in Long Island City on its platform Point2Homes, and found that queries for properties in the area exploded by nearly 200 percent in the three days following the news. After the announcement, even less pricey areas such as Astoria, Greenpoint and Sunnyside were seeing a surge in home prices due to the ripple effect of high demand in Long Island City.

Expectations for Long Island City have changed, however, since Amazon canceled its plans to move into the area on Feb. 14 following community backlash. While expectations for home prices in Long Island City and surrounding areas are returning to their pre-Amazon levels, other parts of the country continue to experience transformations as a result of a company's relocation to the area. A new office or headquarters can have a profound impact on property values, development and future real estate patterns.

[Read: Priced Out: Options When Your Neighborhood Is No Longer Affordable]

Over the past five years, Los Angeles has been recognized as a flourishing hub for innovative companies that combine tech and entertainment to create new brands and businesses. As the heart of Los Angeles’ tech scene, what's dubbed "Silicon Beach" has become a burgeoning area comprised of seven beach cities including Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista and Hermosa Beach, with companies such as YouTube, Google and Hulu coming into each of these areas.

Silicon Beach attracts unique talent from top universities including the University of Southern California, University of California--Los Angeles and Chapman University who are looking to build roots in West Los Angeles. This, in turn, has caused a shift in the luxury real estate market as a surge of millennials begin to look for high-end real estate in the surrounding Los Angeles area.

Here's how three Silicon Beach spots have transformed as a result of companies moving in.

[Read: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Neighborhood That's Right for You]

Shaping Santa Monica

Santa Monica, a coveted destination famed among tourists and locals alike, is home to film and television streaming company Hulu, which moved into its custom-built headquarters with over 90,000 square feet in March 2013. Bringing more than 500 jobs to Santa Monica, Hulu is one of the many companies that contributed to a skyrocketing median home list price in the area, surpassing $3 million in March 2018, according to Realtor.com. With access to quality public transportation and a walkability score of 83, the wealthy coastal neighborhood has been recognized for record-setting home prices. The growth in the number of jobs has made luxury real estate even more competitive, with the average price per square foot rising from $981 to $1,154 in the last year, according to real estate information site Trulia, while inventory continues to shrink.

The Renaissance of Playa Vista


Similarly, Playa Vista has become a tech hot spot over past few years due to its close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and Downtown Los Angeles. Contemporary, open structures with sprawling floor plans and outdoor space are ideal for companies like Google and YouTube, which have brought more than 1,000 jobs upon moving to Los Angeles. Playa Vista has become a popular location location for large corporations to invest for the future, simultaneously causing an incredibly tight real estate market with inventory shortages and increasing office space prices due to the tech boom. Even with the market cooling off compared to more recent months, the median home price in Playa Vista is $1.36 million as of Feb. 6, up from a median price of $677,500 five years ago, according to Trulia information.

[Read: 8 Neighborhood Amenities to Look For, Even if You Don't Use Them.]

Venice: The New Millennial Hotspot

Once the ultimate beach town, Venice has evolved into a trendy hotspot among young professionals who crave modern amenities, convenience and close proximity to the beach. Many tech entrepreneurs dealing in software development, virtual reality and ecommerce have taken over the beach town, turning it into what has now become an increasingly competitive real estate market. With the average price per square foot reaching $1,188 in February, according to Trulia, Venice real estate is surpassing even the most luxe neighborhoods in Los Angeles, as Bel Air's average price is $1,024 per square foot and Beverly Hills is seeing $1,006 per square foot for February 2019. While many wealthy homebuyers have been known to seek out large estates in the mountains, millennials have sought out Venice as the place to create modern homes, causing the median price of a one-bedroom home to increase by over 50 percent since 2012. Venice has adapted to reflect the trendy styles of those millennials in the tech industry, with a growth in higher-end retail mirroring the surge of affluent homebuyers in the area and the rising cost of living.


The 25 Best Places to Find a Job in the U.S. in 2018

Looking for a new work-related adventure?

San Jose, USA - March 3, 2015: Downtown San Jose California, featuring the hotel DeAnza, Office towers, traffic light and Almaden Bl road sign. Photographed on a sunny day with clear blue sky. No traffic on the street.

(Getty Images)

When you’re considering moving to a new place, how you plan to make money matters a lot. A flourishing job market can easily mean the difference between making it and burning out in a new town. This is why in the overall ranking of the Best Places to Live, each metro area’s job market – comprised of its unemployment rate and median salary – accounted for 20 percent of the final score. Read on for the 25 strongest job markets in our ranking of the 125 most populous places in the U.S.

25. Dallas-Fort Worth

25. Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo of Dallas skyline in the morning. Sunrise moment. Dusk.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 18
Metro Population: 6,957,123
Median Home Price: $210,181
Median Annual Salary: $50,350
Unemployment Rate: 3.7 percent

The Dallas-Fort Worth area’s top employers come from a wide range of industries – from technology and finance to oil and manufacturing. A big contributor to its success is the number of major corporations that call the area home, including AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Comerica and Texas Health Resources.

Learn more about Dallas-Fort Worth.

24. Omaha, Nebraska

24. Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha Nebraska

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 28
Metro Population: 904,834
Median Home Price: $165,667
Median Annual Salary: $46,490
Unemployment Rate: 3 percent

Nebraska’s largest city is home to a wide range of industries, including financial institution Berkshire Hathaway and Union Pacific Railroad. Omaha also hosts a developing tech industry, an example of startups seeking less-populated cities to base operations and reduce expenses.

Learn more about Omaha.

23. Worcester, Massachusetts

23. Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA Skyline at rush hour.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 62
Metro Population: 930,667
Median Home Price: $232,633
Median Annual Salary: $52,170
Unemployment Rate: 4.1 percent

Located in central Massachusetts, Worcester residents benefit from a low unemployment rate of just 4.1 percent compared to the national average of 4.4 percent.

Learn more about Worcester.

22. Fayetteville, Arkansas

22. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 5
Metro Population: 503,642
Median Home Price: $182,508
Median Annual Salary: $44,980
Unemployment Rate: 2.7 percent

The Fayetteville area maintains a low unemployment rate – just 2.7 percent – with diverse employers that include the University of Arkansas, Tyson Foods Inc. and Walmart.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

21. Huntsville, Alabama

21. Huntsville, Alabama

This could be anywhere downtown.  The various brick buildings, and the fresh contrasting painted building give us a glimpse into the past.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 7
Metro Population: 440,230
Median Home Price: $161,600
Median Annual Salary: $52,960
Unemployment Rate: 4 percent

Home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville attracts aerospace engineers not just for the NASA job opportunities, but also for the aerospace jobs from companies that are based in the area as a result of the government entity’s location.

Learn more about Huntsville.

(*Median home price for Huntsville was not available, so median home value is listed.)

20. Baltimore

20. Baltimore

(Getty Images).

Best Places 2018 Rank: 83
Metro Population: 2,780,873
Median Home Price: $243,633
Median Annual Salary: $54,920
Unemployment Rate: 4.2 percent

Many of Baltimore’s biggest employers are in the health care industry, from Johns Hopkins University and the associated Johns Hopkins Health System to MedStar Health and the University of Maryland Medical System.

Learn more about Baltimore.

19. Colorado Springs, Colorado

19. Colorado Springs, Colorado

A view of Downtown Colorado Springs in front of Pikes Peak in the winter.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 2
Metro Population: 688,643
Median Home Price: $255,233
Median Annual Salary: $49,450
Unemployment Rate: 3.1 percent

Home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, the North American Air Defense Command, a U.S. Army base and an additional Air Force base, Colorado Springs’ job market is heavily defense- and aerospace-based. Still, the Rocky Mountain locale keeps the area's tourism industry strong as well.

Learn more about Colorado Springs.

18. Hartford, Connecticut

18. Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown cityscape.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 46
Metro Population: 1,211,826
Median Home Price: $206,383
Median Annual Salary: $58,400
Unemployment Rate: 4.8 percent

The Hartford metro area may have an above-average unemployment rate, but as a hub for the insurance industry and other businesses, residents earn a median annual salary of $58,400, nearly $10,000 above the national average.

Learn more about Hartford.

17. Portland, Oregon

17. Portland, Oregon

Sunrise View of Portland, Oregon from Pittock Mansion.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 6
Metro Population: 2,351,319
Median Home Price: $349,675
Median Annual Salary: $53,960
Unemployment Rate: 3.8 percent

A flourishing tech industry isn’t the only thing keeping Portland’s median annual salary high and its unemployment rate below the national average. Manufacturing, athletic and outdoor apparel and health care companies all contribute to Portland’s economy.

Learn more about Portland.

16. Des Moines, Iowa

16. Des Moines, Iowa

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 4
Metro Population: 611,755
Median Home Price: $181,217
Median Annual Salary: $49,420
Unemployment Rate: 2.9 percent

While the Des Moines area’s median salary is slightly below the national average of $49,630, the cost of living is far lower, as the typical resident uses just 23.52 percent of his or her household income on living expenses. The low cost of living is just one factor bringing tech companies and startups to the metro area.

Learn more about Des Moines.

15. San Diego

15. San Diego

Skyscrapers of San Diego skyline with reflections and cloudscape.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 30
Metro Population: 3,253,356
Median Home Price: $521,067
Median Annual Salary: $55,480
Unemployment Rate: 4 percent

San Diego attracts residents with its ideal weather and helps them stay with a number of diverse job opportunities. San Diego is home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet and has a large number of military personnel as a result, not to mention opportunities in technology, tourism and research stemming from the area’s universities.

Learn more about San Diego.

14. Austin, Texas

14. Austin, Texas

Map of Texas with Austin skyline in background.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 1
Metro Population: 1,942,615
Median Home Price: $278,608
Median Annual Salary: $50,830
Unemployment Rate: 3.2 percent

While Austin attracts a wide variety of businesses, with government and education being major employers in the area, it draws a lot of tech companies as well. A less expensive place to set up shop than Silicon Valley, Austin is now considered a major tech hub.

Learn more about Austin.

13. Portland, Maine

13. Portland, Maine

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in South Portland, Maine is one of the best Maine lighthouses

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 27
Metro Population: 523,874
Median Home Price: $219,658
Median Annual Salary: $47,770
Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent

Portland’s job market thrives on small businesses, ranging from retail to manufacturing. But the high success rate of small businesses doesn’t keep larger companies from calling the area home, such as L.L. Bean, which is based in Freeport, Maine.

Learn more about Portland.

12. Santa Rosa, California

12. Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa, vineyard

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 77
Metro Population: 497,776
Median Home Price: $499,513
Median Annual Salary: $52,670
Unemployment Rate: 3.4 percent

In the heart of California wine country, Santa Rosa sees a high number of its residents working on farms and at wineries and brewpubs, with another significant portion holding jobs in tourism.

Learn more about Santa Rosa.

11. Minneapolis-St. Paul

11. Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis Minnesota Downtown and the Stone Arch Bridge at Sunset

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 9
Metro Population: 3,488,436
Median Home Price: $237,367
Median Annual Salary: $55,010
Unemployment Rate: 3.3 percent

Minneapolis boasts strong life science, biotechnology and health-tech industries, as well as familiar corporations headquartered in the area, including Target, Best Buy and General Mills.

Learn more about Minneapolis-St. Paul.

10. Madison, Wisconsin

10. Madison, Wisconsin

A vivid, photo taken from an airplane of downtown Madison, Wisconsin in spring.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 16
Metro Population: 634,269
Median Home Price: $238,375
Median Annual Salary: $50,830
Unemployment Rate: 2.4 percent

Along with its strong health care industry, Madison has a growing biotechnology market and attracts startups for its low cost of living but close proximity to well-connected corporations like health care software company Epic Systems.

Learn more about Madison.

9. Manchester, New Hampshire

9. Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 37
Metro Population: 404,948
Median Home Price: $236,174
Median Annual Salary: $51,920
Unemployment Rate: 2.7 percent

With an extremely low unemployment rate of just 2.7 percent, Manchester residents work in a variety of industries, from technology and communications to financial services, health care and manufacturing.

Learn more about Manchester.

8. New York City

8. New York City

Times Square in New York.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 96
Metro Population: 20,973,061
Median Home Price: $374,814
Median Annual Salary: $61,925
Unemployment Rate: 4.4 percent

Naturally, the Big Apple makes the list, with a number of domestic and international businesses calling the area home. New York’s major industries range from finance and fashion to shipping and manufacturing, and the city is considered the financial and publishing capital of the U.S.

Learn more about New York.

7. Honolulu

7. Honolulu

Last minute vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 986,999
Median Home Price: $581,658
Median Annual Salary: $51,080
Unemployment Rate: 2.4 percent

With active U.S. Army and Air Force bases on Oahu, Honolulu has a sizable percentage of residents in the defense industry, though it’s no surprise tourism is the island's leading industry. But the individual companies employing the most Honolulu residents are actually in the health care industry. Honolulu has the lowest unemployment rate of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Honolulu.

6. Seattle

6. Seattle

High dynamic image of Seattle skyline in dramatic sunrise colors across pier-66 waterfront

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 10
Metro Population: 3,671,095
Median Home Price: $403,650
Median Annual Salary: $61,170
Unemployment Rate: 3.9 percent

Seattle’s job market has an enviable reputation, with the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft calling the area home, and major offices for corporations like Google offering highly desired job opportunities as well.

Learn more about Seattle.

5. Denver

5. Denver

Cherry Creek, Denver Colorado

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 3
Metro Population: 2,752,056
Median Home Price: $362,492
Median Annual Salary: $55,910
Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent

Educational institutions such as the University of Colorado and the University of Denver create a substantial amount of research roles in the area. Strong business in aerospace, defense and tourism also help fuel Denver’s strong job market.

Learn more about Denver.

4. Boston

4. Boston

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 25
Metro Population: 4,728,844
Median Home Price: $399,458
Median Annual Salary: $64,080
Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent

With dozens of colleges and universities in the metro area, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston has guaranteed extensive opportunities in the education and research fields and a young workforce to take advantage of them.

Learn more about Boston.

3. Washington, D.C.

3. Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial just after sunset from the edge of the reflecting pool in Washington, D.C.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 6,011,752
Median Home Price: $368,642
Median Annual Salary: $68,000
Unemployment Rate: 3.7 percent

The District of Columbia offers a significant amount of work in the public sector and with government contractors, but it also has a steadily growing number of private-sector companies headquartered in the area, including Marriott International and Mars Inc. in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, respectively.

Learn more about Washington.

1. San Francisco

1. San Francisco

California Street Cable Car in San Francisco

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 20
Metro Population: 4,577,530
Median Home Price: $790,233
Median Annual Salary: $69,110
Unemployment Rate: 3.3 percent

Tied at the No. 1 spot is San Francisco, where residents enjoy a strong job market that thrives in tourism, technology, finance and business. San Francisco residents also enjoy a high median annual salary of more than $69,000.

Learn more about San Francisco.

1. San Jose, California

1. San Jose, California

Mixed-use european style buildings of the upscale Santa Row shopping district in San Jose, California.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2018 Rank: 17
Metro Population: 1,943,107
Median Home Price: $932,108
Median Annual Salary: $78,990
Unemployment Rate: 3.3 percent.

The capital of Silicon Valley continues to reign supreme, tied with its neighbor San Francisco for the top spot on the list. San Jose has the highest average salary out of the 125 largest metro areas in the U.S., combined with a below-average unemployment rate.

Learn more about San Jose.

Read More

Tags: real estate, housing, housing market, home prices, existing home sales, pending home sales, new home sales, technology, employment


Sally Forster Jones is recognized as one of the top real estate brokers in Southern California. Forster Jones is an expert in the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and internationally. Her extensive knowledge ranges from residential sales, luxury and architecturally significant properties to new developments and commercial transactions.

She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.

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